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Australia - Teaching Profession

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In 2000, almost all Australian universities prepared teachers for primary education. Most covered education in both school and non-school settings and included such areas as early childhood education; primary and secondary education; vocational education and training; and special education, applied linguistics, language education, and technology Education. With a swing towards standards-based education, there was increasing pressure for preparation for tertiary teaching. The development of standards such as the AQF has been followed by national standards development for an increasing number of areas, for instance, the National Assessment Framework for Languages as Senior Secondary Level, which allows comparison between matriculation level language curricula across the various states.

Recognition of external teacher qualifications demonstrates the existence of a general consensus that, despite variation between the various teacher registration schemes in various states, basic teacher preparation requires four year trained status, the equivalent of an Australian Bachelor's degree, at least a year's of specific studies in education and methodology, and six weeks of supervised practical teaching. The competition for positions in the state systems has pushed teacher education even further up the road to professionalization, with it being very common for teachers to pursue professional advancement through Masters degrees, one of the proliferating professional doctorates (in Educational Administration, Education, or Management), or upskilling by horizontal expansion of skills into new areas, such as computer sciences.

In the end, it was the baby boom and the expansionist government's immigration policies aimed at filling up the empty spaces of Australia that democratized the system more effectively than progressive educational policy. On the one hand, progressivism in education, as with modernism in theology and the theory of progress generally, was a dying force. During war and depression, the world saw enough to blunt its belief in humanist utopias. On the other hand, more children staying in school longer stretched resources to the limit. Increasing numbers within the primary school encouraged regular promotion from class to class and reduced the significance of the examination or other system of assessment by which pupils at the end of the primary school were allocated to secondary schools. This wave, in turn, put pressure on the comprehensive secondary schools, which were increasingly built in drawing areas located on the edge of the metropolitan sprawl developing in Australian cities, and on the teachers' colleges, which needed to produce sufficient graduates for the new educational growth industry.


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